How to Really Take Care of Your Eyes Over 50
At some point in their lives, almost everyone will need glasses.
Later in life, your eyes weaken and focusing becomes difficult. The focal point drifts farther and farther away, and reading small print up close might as well be like trying to decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. At least you can blame all sorts of things on your bad vision once it goes!
If your job requires reading, you’re in a bind and may need glasses sooner. Once eyesight begins diminishing, you can’t reverse the process, but it may be slowed down with good eye care:
Eat Eye-Healthy Foods
Many kids grew up hearing their parents telling them to eat their carrots for good eyesight, and the adage has truth to it — carrots have a substantial amount of vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes healthy.
Other foods that are good for your eyes include those rich in copper, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin E. Antioxidants prevent macular degeneration and can be found in egg yolks, dark leafy greens, yellow peppers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and carrots.
Do Eye Sets
You read that right. If you do eye exercises, you should start to see improvements in a month. They’re perfect to do when your eyes feel tired or when you wake up or go to sleep.
Before you do the exercises, you’ll need to warm up. Rub your palms together to create friction and hold them over your eyes for five seconds. Repeat this three times. Roll your eyes like you’re annoyed at your coworker for jamming up the copier again. Look up and look down. Circle your eyes around clockwise for a count of ten and reverse counter clockwise.
Hold a small object, such as a pen, at arm’s length and focus on it, slowly moving it closer until it’s a few inches from your nose. Bring it outward and inward for a count of ten, letting your focus follow it.
Exercise Everything Else
Don’t let the rest of your body feel left out! Exercise is good for your whole body, and it will improve blood circulation. Those tiny vessels in your eyes will reap the benefit and clean out harmful substances. People who exercise three times a week are less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration.
You don’t have drink protein shakes and lift hundreds of pounds like a body builder to work out. A walk, swim or round of chores with lots of lifting will get the job done.
Take Eye Breaks
You need to take eye breaks to let your mind and ability to focus visually refresh. The increasing reliance on technology places a heavy burden on eyes with bright screens at all hours of the day and night, even affecting your circadian rhythm.
Take five or ten minutes to shut your eyes now and then to prevent eye strain and keep your internal clock running on schedule.
Sleep Soundly and Consistently
Sleep is the time where your body heals and replenishes, including your eyes. Keep a consistent sleep schedule by waking up and going to bed at the same time daily. Taking short naps as needed will help you look at the world with fresh eyes instead of enduring eye strain and the damage that is likely causing. Get your eight hours in!
Use Ambient Lighting
Technology makes life easier, but it can also cause eyestrain and deterioration when used too long or incorrectly and can lead to computer vision syndrome or something even worse. Staring at a bright computer screen isn’t good for your eyes, especially in a dark room. Bright fluorescent lights and too-dim lights affect your ability to focus as well.
Turn down the brightness on your computer, tablet and smartphone screens. Use ambient lighting to adjust interior light according to how the day is flowing. In the evening, keep the lights less bright, so you’ll be able to fall asleep at bedtime. Standing lamps and tabletop lamps provide adjustable ambient lighting.
You know smoking is bad for you, but you may not know that it contributes to blindness. In cigarette smokers, macular degeneration related to age is more likely.
Cigarette smoke can cause cataracts and decrease antioxidant levels that help with eye health. Eye irritation due to smoke can lead to dry eyes and affect your sensitivity to light, reducing your ability to focus. Over-the-counter drops may help this problem but will not eliminate it if you are a smoker.
There are many things you can do to take care of your eyes over 50. Eat eye-beneficial foods such as carrots and fish. Exercise your body and your eyes. Take breaks and nap when you need to rest your eyes. Use ambient lighting to relieve eye strain and stick to your internal clock’s schedule. Quit smoking to keep your eyesight working better for longer and reduce other health risks.
Even though everyone will be surprised with your Superman vision, don’t forget you can still occasionally say “no” when someone asks “Did you see that?” Just plead the fifth while munching on tasty carrot sticks and ranch dip.
How do you take care of your eyes? What is your eyesight like in your 60’s? Have you found that your eyesight has improved or gotten worse and you have aged?
Jennifer Landis is a writer, blogger, mom, wife and health nut with a fierce love for peanut butter and naps. She practices yoga regularly even though her husband doesn’t think it counts as exercise. Fitness and nutrition are her cup of tea. You can find her online at www.mindfulnessmama.com